Muscles Worked: Biceps & Forearm – A great exercise to finish off your biceps workout.
Spotter Required: No
Minimum Equipment required: 5’ or 6’ standard or EZ barbell with weights
The Best Equipment to Use: 5’ or 6’ Olympic bar or EZ curl bar with weights
Warming up: As reverse barbell curls should be one of the last or last workouts for your biceps there will be no need to warm-up
How often should I perform this exercise: Reverse barbell curls are a fantastic exercise that target your forearm (brachioradialis) as well as your biceps and can be performed with every biceps workout. If you want to alternate it with another exercise try reverse preacher bench curls.
When should I perform this exercise: Reverse barbell curls work the forearm quite intensely, so it is recommended to finish with this exercise as part of your biceps workout.
How to do the exercise: Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent, holding onto the barbell with an overhand grip (palms facing down), making sure you grip the barbell shoulder width apart. Keeping your upper arms steady, slowly begin to lift the weight until the bar reaches near your chin, now begin to lower the weight back down to the start position using resistance the whole time. Remember at all times keep your head neutral with your spine; do not be tempted to look at your biceps during the workout.
Typically when performing reverse barbell curls you may notice that your thumbs stay on top of the bar instead of wrapping around it, this is natural and also the best hand position for this exercise.
When you perform reverse barbell curls you are putting your biceps in a position of mechanical disadvantage, put simply, you will not be able to lift the same weight you do with standing barbell curls. The reverse grip makes the top of the forearms work very hard and once you have completed the exercise you should definitely be feeling a temporary “pump” in the upper forearm, for this reason try to finish your biceps workout with reverse barbell biceps curls.
I personally use a flat 7’ Olympic barbell, only because my gym has no 5’ or 6’ ones, some people prefer using an EZ curl bar because when they tried performing reverse curls with a flat barbell they complained that their wrists hurt. Everyone is different so if you prefer a straight barbell, use a straight barbell, if you prefer an EZ bar, use an EZ bar. Whilst I will definitely agree that an EZ bar puts less stress on your wrists during the exercise I personally prefer using a flat barbell.
Mentality: It can feel uncomfortable, mainly because it doesn’t feel like a natural movement. I find with reverse barbell curls I have to really concentrate on my breathing, if I become tired early on during the exercise I simply rest for 1-2 seconds at the top or bottom position, take a deep breath and carry on.